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Florida smoking rates at historic low- Alachua county trails closely

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Florida has hit an historic low in its smoking rate with Alachua county trailing closely behind. The latest health rankings show progress statewide, but have found some rural counties are lagging behind.

However, there are 451,000 less smokers in Florida than there were 10 years ago and the staterate is currently at 15.8 percent. Rural area such as Gadsden, Hardee and Madison are at 21 percent. With counties such as DeSoto, Hamilton and Hendry lying at 20 percent.

Alachua county and surrounding areas are keeping numbers relatively close to the state rate; with Alachua standing at 16%, Levy county at 18 and Marion at 16 percent as well.

Gainesville's recently banned of tobacco at parks and bus stops, and Tobacco-Free Alachua is continuing their efforts with hopes to raise the age-limit to 21 and apply zoning policies that will limit retailers.

Victoria Hunter Gibeny, chair of Tobacco-Free Alachua said, "there's research that shows when tobacco retailers are proximal to high schools for instance, the smoking rates are higher, because it's close by between their school and their home... they're most likely to make those choices."

In the state of Florida smokers that purchase one pack a day can spend more than $2,000 on cigarettes a year, that adds up to $10,000 over five years.

Tobacco-Free Florida does offer free resources for those who are trying to quit.

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